Workflow redesign through consolidation in information-intensive business processes

Rajiv Dewan, Abraham Seidmann, Zhiping Walter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent advances in information technology allow for greater flexibility in designing document flows and in the allocation of tasks along the business process. Many companies try to leverage on these technological advancements through the use of expanded jobs and tasks consolidation. While task consolidation reduces hand-off delays, it requires changes in the supporting information technology and leads to a loss of specialization. Since a typical business process contains dozens of tasks, it is not clear which tasks should be consolidated as a number of factors must be taken into account: the precedence of information flows, loss of specialization, alignment of decision rights, reduction in hand-offs and technology support costs. This paper presents a new methodology that helps system designers determine the optimal set of tasks to be consolidated. The proposed methodology is fully automated and is designed to maintain all the information flows and precedence constraints. The business process workflow is modeled as a directed graph and analytical formulations of the task consolidation problem using mixed integer programming are presented. Optimal design insights are obtained for both sequential and generic process structures. Initial results reveal when the loss of specialization and lack of task control can undermine the benefits of cycle-time reduction through consolidation. It was also observed that the effects of information technologies on the pattern of consolidation can vary dramatically from case to case. Finally, the paper explains why these information technologies that support task processing will facilitate consolidation, while technologies that mostly reduce delays and help communications will facilitate specialization as well as independent task monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1997
Externally publishedYes
Event18th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 1997 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Dec 14 1997Dec 17 1997


Other18th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 1997
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Business process reengineering
  • Document management
  • Electronic documents
  • Job design
  • Work flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Workflow redesign through consolidation in information-intensive business processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this